"The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time."
~ Jack London
It was dark and cloudy with the rain coming down in a drizzle as the car slalomed back and forth along the cliffs of the Pacific Ocean.
It would be 3 more hours before we reached Bodega Bay and another hour after that before reaching our destination of San Francisco airport.... ending in 5 rather than 0).
My wife and I stayed at a small inn famous as a backdrop for an old romantic movie (Same Time Next Year), a few miles south of the township of Mendocino.
It probably seemed like a long journey for only an extended weekend, but the trek was well worth the effort, as the accommodations, scenery, and company were all spectacular.
While my wife napped on the drive south, I found myself alone in my thoughts, reflecting on my life of 55 years.
Up until this past Sunday, I calculated that I have spent exactly 20,089 days on this earth.
A great majority of those days have been unremarkable.
I woke up... got out of bed... attended to some chores and/or completed some tasks at work... ate some food... burned some calories... added a few tidbit of information to my brain... and went to bed.
While I’m sure that I did plenty of positive of actions, memories of my days have been lost and forgotten.
Oh sure... there are some moments of time that are forever etched in my brain... the first time I held my children... the first time I met my wife Susan... the day I closed escrow on my first home... the early morning I packed up my belongs and left home for college... the day I quit my corporate job to become a full-time entrepreneur...
Mostly I remember these events well because I was, at the same time; both fearful of the unknown that lay before me, while exhilarated about possibilities that the changes of these events could bring.
I was embarking on a thrill ride where the outcome was completely unknown but for some reason I wanted to go anyways...
Moving forward not due to the absence of fear... but moving forward despite its presence...
Those days in my life are memorable... because on those days I made a conscience decision to leave a comfortable existence in order to leave my mark on the world...
On most days, my footprints are cast in sand along the beach only to be washed away with the rising tide...
Yet on certain other days, my footprints are set in concrete, remaining forever (or at least a very long time) while affecting the lives of people who surround me.
On those days, there was a conscience effort to make a difference with my time... making a self-determination that I wanted to make the world around me a better place because I existed.
Whereas we can always make more money... time is limited and finite... and once we’ve run out of time, we cannot manufacture any more of it... no matter how hard we try or how much money we possess.
So if time is truly our most precious asset... why do we so often waste and squander it?...
It is not our intention to waste away our days.
We don’t awake each morning and proclaim to the world that today we will do nothing.
On the contrary... we typically start each day with great intent... some plan of action... a to-do list full of tasks.
At the end of the day we often feel a sense of accomplishment... we went to work and earned some money... we completed all of our shopping... we totally planned out our next vacation.
We acted and accomplished a great deal of things... yet none of them really meaningful or purposeful.
Why is it that we don’t make every day a memorable moment in our lives?
I believe that all of us are on this earth with a purpose... a reason... a grand adventure... a hero’s journey... a sacred mission...
Many times our mission is just a series of small deeds that together add up to something great and meaningful.
Other times, we understand that we need to prepare ourselves by learning new skills, adding new experiences, discovering resources, and acquiring knowledge that will allow us to make our difference.
Much of our work is in the preparation not the execution.
Although it is not always immediately apparent, each of us has their own unique and individual "why".
Finding our "why" is often exponentially more difficult than actually setting out to accomplish it.
I am certainly not an expert on finding meaning and purpose, what I do know is that we’ll never find true purpose in front of the television, aimlessly surfing the internet, or shooting pool at the local tavern...
How many days in our lives have we already wasted?... those are days that we’ll never get back... those are days that counted for nothing...
We allow our days to unproductively bleed from one to another... roaming aimlessly from task to task.
Often we tell ourselves that we will start living our mission when some magical event happens in the future...
We’ll contribute our time when we have more time... we will donate our money when we have more money... we will go to the gym after we lose those extra pounds... we will go back to school and learn a new skill after we learn that our job is being eliminated.
Tomorrow isn’t the time to prepare ourselves for greatness... the time to act... the time to do something great.
Today is the day we need to stop wasting time... today is the day we want to remember for the rest of our lives... today is the day we make count...
The sands of time are filtering through our hourglass... one day at a time... days that we’ll never get back.
I know for certain that I don’t have another 20,000 days in front of me, so it’s up to me to make the most of the days I do have.
Today we hold the power to make a difference... to make the world just a bit better by the time we leave than when we first entered it.
Today is the most important day of our future.
Thank you for your support of OptiFuse where we applaud the collective contributions of others to make the world slightly better each day.